Gov. Vi on big sign on Taal: 'Definitely an enhancement'
The proposed Hollywood-inspired sign was widely met with sneers and eye rolls, but Santos-Recto said the public is simply "overreacting".
She added that the signage was just one of the suggestions made for the local government's plan to enhance the province's tourism program.
"Masyadong nakakaroon ng overreaction at exaggerated ang news na 'yan dahil in the first place, 'yan ay for study pa lang," she told anchor Howie Severino.
On Thursday, reports of the proposed "Batangas" sign went viral on social media, drawing criticism and mockery from netizens and even spawning a meme featuring different famous locations in the Philippines bearing oddly-placed signs.
Santos-Recto said the sign is just one part of her tourism plan, and referred to the common mistake of tourists who think Taal Lake is an extension of Tagaytay in Cavite province, which offers the best view of the "island within a lake within an island within a lake."
"It's not just focused sa paglalagay ng signage dyan. It is just a small part para masabi natin na ito ang Batangas, nandito kayo sa lalawigan ng Batangas," she added.
But the governor emphasized that the proposal will still undergo a study, in which the local government will determine if it's even feasible to put up a sign near the volcano.
"May pros and cons. Pwedeng matuloy 'yan, pwedeng hindi," she said. "That's why may study na ginagawa. We are not even sure kung pwedeng magtayo dyan ng construction, kung kaya ba ng lupa 'yan, what if pumutok 'yan. That's why we're doing consultations."
Santos-Recto added that the proposal is part of their holistic approach to improve their tourism program, which will greatly benefit Batangueños.
"Madadagdagan din ng pangkabuhayan ang mga tao dyan sa Batangas because that's going to be additional livelihood for them," she said. "So it's not just the signage alone na ibinebenta dyan. It's the holistic approach ng turismo sa lalawigan ng Batangas."
Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste echoed Santos-Recto's sentiments, saying they are saddened that some people "overreacted, if not maliciously responded" to the proposal.
"I actually expected to see mixed opinions on the idea, but I hope our kababayans will remain mature, responsible and objective with their comments," Leviste said in a statement sent to GMA News.
"We appreciate their participation and will always welcome their insights," he said. "The overwhelming response only proves that Batangas is indeed beautiful and it is a very popular and important tourist destination."
The proposal was first reported in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Thursday, where an officer of the Batangas tourism office was quoted as saying that the provincial council approved a resolution supporting the idea to put up the sign, in addition to building a floating restaurant and other tourist amenities around Taal Lake.
The proposed sign, which would be positioned following the contours of the volcano, would be 14 meters tall and stretch for about 110 meters, the report said. — Candice Montenegro/RSJ/HS, GMA News